After the start of the space tourism race, August takes a break from racing and kicks off with a Perseid meteor shower, a scintillating spectacle that space has offered for 2,000 years, according to NASA. August will also bring a rare blue moon and SpaceX will launch its Dragon spacecraft to resupply the International Space Station.
Here we tell you what are the astronomical events of August and the next plans of SpaceX.
Perseid meteor shower
The annual Perseid meteor shower is a spectacle that occurs between mid-July and late August. According to NASA, in an hour you can observe up to 100 meteors per hour and you do not need special equipment to observe the meteor shower, but it does recommend going to a place away from bright sources of light.
“Allow your eyes to adjust to the dark (takes about 30 minutes), that way you will see more meteors. Also, try to stay away from the phone as looking at devices with bright screens will negatively affect your night vision and consequently, it will reduce the number of meteors you see!” says NASA.
These meteors are the product of debris from Comet Swift-Tuttle that orbits the Sun once every 133 years, so each August the Earth passes through the comet’s debris field.
Ice and dust, accumulated over a thousand years, burn up in our atmosphere to create the meteor shower. The Perseids show brighter meteorites than any other annual meteor shower.
Meteors can be traced back to the constellation Perseus, from which they get their name. From our perspective, all meteors appear to come from a single point called “radiant”, but that is because they are moving in parallel with each other.
When the “radiant” is highest in the sky, we will see the most meteors. But “Earthgrazer” meteors, which skim Earth’s atmosphere and display long, fiery tails, are visible earlier, when the radiant is low above the horizon.
The meteors themselves travel at 212,000 kilometers per hour, creating their vivid rays of light. They can reach between 1,600 and 5,500 degrees Celsius during that rain.
The comet itself will come extremely close to Earth in 2126.
When will you be able to see the meteor shower: August 11, 12 and 13.
Every month has a full moon, but because the lunar cycle and the calendar are not well synchronized, every three years ends with two moons in the same month. And the one on August 22 will be the second in a month, that’s why it’s called the “blue moon.” However, the name has nothing to do with the hue of the satellite.
When the phrase ‘once every blue moon’ was coined, it meant it was something very rare, according to NASA’s Data Center.
This August full moon is also known as a sturgeon full moon because the giant sturgeon in the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain in the United States were more easily caught during this season, according to the Farmers’ Almanac.
When will you be able to see the Blue moon: August 22 at 8:02 am ET
After launching a new batch of Internet-streaming Starlink satellites, SpaceX is preparing for SpaceX’s 23rd cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS). Dragon’s release is scheduled for the end of August, although there is no specific date and time yet.
According to NASA, the SpaceX spacecraft will bring to the ISS “a variety of scientific investigations” such as a study on prevention and treatment for loss of bone density, an investigation to test diagnostic devices that could detect and mitigate vision disorders and a new robotic arm.
Elon Musk’s company SpaceX is preparing to go into space with the Inspiration4 mission, which is scheduled to fly no earlier than September 15. This mission will be manned by civilians.
I’m a science journalist and host of Cosmic Controversy (brucedorminey.podbean.com) as well as author of “Distant Wanderers: the Search for Planets Beyond the Solar System.” I primarily cover aerospace and astronomy. I’m a former Hong Kong bureau chief for Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine and former Paris-based technology correspondent for the Financial Times newspaper who has reported from six continents. A 1998 winner in the Royal Aeronautical Society’s Aerospace Journalist of the Year Awards (AJOYA), I’ve interviewed Nobel Prize winners and written about everything from potato blight to dark energy. Previously, I was a film and arts correspondent in New York and Europe, primarily for newspaper outlets like the International Herald Tribune, the Boston Globe and Canada’s Globe & Mail. Recently, I’ve contributed to Scientific American.com, Nature News, Physics World, and Yale Environment 360.com. I’m a current contributor to Astronomy and Sky & Telescope and a correspondent for Renewable Energy World. Twitter @bdorminey